Legal update for commercial directors and senior managers of member companies of CECA (Southern) Ltd on 28 April 2021

A team of lawyers from Goodman Derrick LLP have provided a webinar on recent legal developments of interest to commercial directors and senior managers of member companies of CECA (Southern). David Allen, Executive Director of CECA (Southern) introduced the webinar and provided concluding remarks emphasising the need for collaborative awareness of the issues raised. CECA (Southern) represents members of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) in the south and south west of England who are engaged in constructing vital infrastructure around the UK. CECA’s role in supporting the government’s infrastructure programme is widely recognised.  

Tom Pemberton, a Partner in our construction team, focussed on recent court judgments which provide cautionary tales highlighting the need to ensure that there are no gaps in the contractual web binding a typical project team together, both in securing contractual undertakings from key participants, and in ensuring that contractual provisions relating to payment, limitation of liability, and termination (among other things) are fully considered and offer proper protection or proper recourse depending on which side is taken. He also gave a brief update on the consultation on the government’s plans to update the public procurement regulations and the review of public sector construction frameworks which Professor David Mosey has been commissioned to undertake (on which exercises CECA are engaging fully with the government and Professor Mosey respectively), and an update also on the VAT domestic reverse charge which applies to the construction industry since 1 March 2021.

Jonathan Cole, a Senior Associate in our commercial litigation team, discussed the relevant topic of business interruption insurance and in particular, the Supreme Court decision in FCA v Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd and others. This landmark ruling has impacted on thousands of UK businesses, as it provides clarity on the interpretation of the wording of a number of frequently used business interruption clauses in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The presentation focused on the impact of the judgment on the construction industry and also covered practical tips on how to make a claim under a business interruption insurance policy and the avenues available to the insured, in the event that their claim is rejected.

Clare Gilroy-Scott, a Partner in our employment team, gave an overview of the changes to the IR35 rules which apply from 6 April 2021, and in particular its impact on labour supply chains. The new rules have a considerable financial implications on medium and large private sector businesses who engage individuals who supply their services through their own intermediary, such as a limited company, and how those workers are assessed for tax purposes. The presentation included a summary of the previous IR35 rules and exactly what changes have been made in terms of responsibility for making a determination of a worker’s employment status for tax purposes and the responsibility and possible liability of each entity in the labour supply chain. Practical tips for addressing the impact of the new rules were also covered in the presentation.

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Goodman Derrick has a strong cross-departmental Construction Group that provides contentious and non-contentious advice to property owners, developers, contractors and consultants, supported by lawyers in our commercial litigation, employment, property and corporate teams. 

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